Mexico Fly Home Into A Storm

Date Published: 
1973-12-17
Source: 
New Straits Times
Page: 
23

MEXICO CITY, Sun. — "Search them down to their socks." That was the order given by Customs officials at Mexico City airport for the hapless Mexican soccer team who were eliminated from the World Cup finals next year.

The Mexicans, who were hosts in the last World Cup in 1970, needed to beat lowly Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night to keep their hopes alive against a strong Haitian team.

But the Trinidadians easily won 4-0.

Although Mexico meet Haiti in a final encounter on Tuesday, the undefeated Haitians have already wrapped up the series with eight points. Mexico were in second place but the defeat on Friday removed any chance they have of qualifying.

After hearing the score of Friday night's match, a Customs inspector was quoted by the newspaper "El Universal": "We can only deduce that the team did not go to Port-au-Prince to play soccer but to buy contraband since the Haitian capital is recognised as a place to acquire many European and Eastern goods."

Customs officials told the newspaper that every member of the team, including trainers, will be subjected to careful search when they return from Haiti without a World Cup berth.

"I get the impression they are not a soccer team but a commercial delegation," said another inspector, disgruntled by the team's poor performance, "because everytime they leave here they come back with many packages and a great quantity of contraband."